US regains top spot for fastest supercomputer

Jun 18, 2012
An IBM supercomputer developed for US government nuclear simulations and to study climate change and the human genome has been recognized as the world's fastest.

An IBM supercomputer developed for US government nuclear simulations and to study climate change and the human genome has been recognized as the world's fastest.

The announcement Monday at the 2012 International Supercomputing Conference in Hamburg, Germany recognized Sequoia, an IBM /Q system installed at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

The machine delivered an impressive 16.32 petaflops -- a equating to a thousand trillion operations -- per second.

Sequoia is primarily for simulations used to ensure the safety and reliability of US nuclear weapons. It also is used for research into astronomy, energy, human genome science and climate change.

Sequoia dethrones Fujitsu's 'K Computer' installed at the RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science (AICS) in Kobe, Japan, which dropped to the number two spot at 10.51 petaflops per second.

The Sequoia supercomputer. Photo by Bob Hirschfeld/LLNL

A new Mira which is also part of the IBM BlueGene/Q series at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois, was third fastest.

The most powerful system in Europe and number four on the List is SuperMUC, an iDataplex system installed at Leibniz Rechenzentrum in Germany.

China, which briefly took the top spot in November 2010, has two systems in the top 10.

The announcement came from the TOP500 list compiled by the University of Mannheim, Germany; the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee.

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User comments : 4

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georgert
5 / 5 (1) Jun 18, 2012
Is it just me or is it actually the case that whenever a new record setting US supercomputer comes online it is always dedicated to Los Alamos or Livermore for nuclear warhead monitoring or simulation?
verkle
2 / 5 (4) Jun 18, 2012
Or for global warming study. But even simulations with these great computers cannot accurately figure out how the temperature has fluctuated throughout the past century, let alone figure out what's going to happen going forward.

alfie_null
5 / 5 (1) Jun 19, 2012
Is it just me or is it actually the case that whenever a new record setting US supercomputer comes online it is always dedicated to Los Alamos or Livermore for nuclear warhead monitoring or simulation?

I like this way better than how we used to do it.
antialias_physorg
3 / 5 (2) Jun 19, 2012
Is it just me or is it actually the case that whenever a new record setting US supercomputer comes online it is always dedicated to Los Alamos or Livermore for nuclear warhead monitoring or simulation?

What do you expect with the amount of your tax money going to the department of defense? The military is the only part of government that is swimming in so much funds that they don't really know what to do with it all.

They get a quarter or 33 cents of every one of your tax dollars (depending on how you count it) for no return whatsoever. That's a pretty sweet deal. To keep that up they have to perform the occasional PR stunt like the one in the article or someone might start to ask questions.

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